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Nigerian President Tells VOA Nigeria Has Been ‘Vindicated’ by Apprehension of Charles Taylor

"We promised if a democratically elected government requested for him, we will let him go,” said Obasanjo

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2006 – Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the Voice of America in an interview that the arrest and deportation of former Liberian President Charles Taylor from Nigeria means, "We have been vindicated."

President Obasanjo was interviewed by VOA's Hausa language service after meeting with President Bush in New York City. Asked about the handling of Taylor's time in Nigeria, President Obasanjo said, "Nigeria was just acting as a host. Taylor is not a Nigerian. We promised if a democratically elected government requested for him, we will let him go." As for Taylor's sudden disappearance, he added, "We were told by some of his family that it is possible he must have been abducted. Of course, we also knew that it was possible he could have escaped, so we cast our net wide and we got him."

President Obasanjo refuted the criticism that arose after Taylor's initial disappearance, saying, "Nigeria was not negligent." He said, "Those who have made uncomplimentary and derogatory remarks owe Nigeria an apology."

Asked whether he was planning to run for a third-term through an amendment to the constitution, Obasanjo said, "The plan I have now is to complete the term that I constitutionally have in my hand. But the amendment of the constitution is the legal and legitimate responsibility of the National Assembly. If the National Assembly want to do their job, nobody should prevent them or tell them not to do it…. But for me now, that is not on the card. What is on the card is moving Nigeria forward within the term and constitutional responsibility that I have now."

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The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

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